The Owls begin their regular season this Saturday at #5 Ohio State.
Lane Kiffin declined to name a starter when he talked to reporters today.
It is also noteworthy that Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall in the sunshine state towards the end of the weekend, which could impact the Owls.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the state of Florida as FAU was playing at Wisconsin.
As a result, the team stayed on campus in Madison for a total of six nights.
Saturday's contest will be the first for the Owls against the Buckeyes.
Below is our compilation of notables, and some video as we reach the mid-point of Game Week.
- Key Matchup The Ohio State defense features junior defensive end Chase Young. The former US Army All American is expected to be selected in the top 5 picks of the 2020 NFL Draft if he decides to go pro. FAU`s starting tackles will have their handles full with Young, who will be moved around. Senior Brandon Walton will be manning left tackle. It remains unclear who will start at right tackle between Marquice Robinson and Doug Johnson Jr.
- Injury Updates QB Justin Agner practiced today, however he is no longer part of the starting QB battle. The status of several players including WR John Mitchell and DB Teja Young remain unknown heading into Saturday. Punter Sebaistian Riella remains out, opening the door for P Matt Hayball to handle punting duties.
- Breakout Candidate Ohio State may have more size and speed then FAU in some areas, however attitude and game plan can offset that. Expect to see starting middle linebacker Akileis Leroy (photo above) to be all over the field on Saturday. “I`m a competitor. I like to play big schools, small schools, whatever school you put me up against. I wanna play.” Leroy has the speed to chase down running backs. This will be a great opportunity for the junior to showcase his skills in front of a national audience.
- The Return of DeAndre McNeal After practice, Lane Kiffin told reporters that senior DeAndre McNeal had rejoined the team. McNeal began his career as a 4 star WR recruit, spending one season at the University of Texas. His second year was spent at Fullerton College, where McNeal had 640 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns. In 2017, McNeal was part of Lane Kiffin`s first FAU recruiting class. That season, under offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, McNeal caught 23 passes before falling out of the FAU receiving rotation in 2018. This past summer, McNeal joined Head Coach Dana Holgorsen`s program at SMU to play DE/OLB. The plan is for McNeal to play wide receiver this season for the Owls. Lane Kiffin has discussed the teams need for more size at wide receiver. When asked about the decision to bring McNeal back, “it was an easy choice, there's no risk for us.” said Lane Kiffin.
- Keep an Eye On The secondary features several new players slated for prominent roles in the upcoming season. This will be an interesting test for FAU`s new look secondary against Ohio States talented skill players. DB`s Armani Eli Adams and Ahman Ross both did not have big roles last year, as Adams redshirted and Ross was a reserve. However, the duo has settled in well with Glenn Spencer`s defense. Adams has excelled playing off the line in a center field role. Senior DB Meiko Dotson will be a newcomer in the secondary rotation as well. Dotson most recent game was in 2017 playing for Garden City CC, he also spent time as a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.
We've got a triple header this week, with Head Coach Lane Kiffin, AD Brian White, and LB Akileis Leroy following today's session.